University of Limerick
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An exploration of L2 motivation and identity in the Japanese high school context

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posted on 2022-09-21, 11:26 authored by Andrew McCarthy
English education in Japan has been undergoing a transformation, especially in the last decade, in order to improve on the statically low levels of communicative ability in English among Japanese high school graduates, compared to other Asian countries. One of the main areas under investigation in Japan in recent years has been the apparent lack of motivation among Japanese high school students to study English at school. Despite the current interest in motivation and learning in Japan, qualitative research into high school learner opinions and thoughts regarding their own individual experiences of learning English, is still limited. This study: (1) explores the individual learner experiences of high school students in Japan, (2) determines whether future-self identities exist among these students, (3) examines if there is a relationship between these language learning experiences and future-self identities, and (4) investigates if and how future-self identities can be nurtured to improve motivation in the second language classroom. Qualitative and quantitative research was carried out by the researcher in a Japanese high school in order to investigate the language learning experiences and identities of the students in the school. This included carrying out surveys, interviews and journal studies with the participants. One of the main findings of the study was that students who possessed positive experiences of using English in their class with their teachers also possessed strong images of themselves using English in their future. Ultimately, this research makes an overall contribution to the development of L2 motivation studies in an attempt to upturn downward trends in English language learning in Japan.



  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Murray, Liam

Second supervisor

Farr, Fiona





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